The Japanese city of Hadano near Tokyo nestles in a kind of geological basin its suburbs edging up its surrounding mountainous ridges. Nozomi Watanabe, a Japanese artist, spent many childhood hours observing and drawing the shifting horizons she experienced residing in an area half way up these slopes. Like the steep escarpments and sight lines often seen in Japanese anime like those of Studio Ghibli, this was a world of shifting perspectives and associated parallax. Nozomi would often contemplate these seismic connections between grounded light plans and rotating nighttime constellations whose fluid relationships would vary according to her height in the hills, the whole visual field being held together and observed as if within some large radio dish or held in an optical lens.
The idea of the telescope underlines much of Nozomi’s work. Letting us see increasingly distant objects they condense space bring proximity to both the distant and near. It is the ‘in reach’ allusiveness that excites wonder. Part of Nozomi’s wish is to express the relationships and continuity between distant points – the pulses of energy emitted from the cosmos – creating a kind of correlative map of stars and the land. Like the shifting parallax experienced while traveling though the evening landscape of Hadano, these maps change with our position. Like telescopes, maps also flatten the space and have a coincidental parallel to the flattened perspectives often found within the Japanese painting tradition.
Many of Nozomi’s works act like map locators such as ‘Observation Points’ from 2016. The spatial distribution of illuminated balloons, while corresponding to a constellation, invite the viewer to look from these fixed points, suggesting a subtle change like ‘viewing stations’ used in eighteenth century landscape gardens, each station opening up a new vista or sightline to a point of interest. This however is also a landscape of natural phenomena where matrices are divined between the sound patterns of rainfall or the falling of leaves; seemingly random phenomena containing encrypted code.
Nozomi´s residency took place from 1 May till 30 June 2017.
Her residency project consisted of series of workshops within the project called "The Nomadic Stars" and presentation of her project “The Observation Points” at the opening of the Nomads exhibition. Nozomi Watanabe reflected the topic of immigration and the topic of nomadic living by focusing on the journey itself, specifically on stargazing, using stars as navigation tool.
The project was made possible thanks to our partners: City of Pilsen, EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee, Youkobo Art Space, Totex Corporation, The Nomads Exhibition Project, Makerspace DEPO2015.